NACCHO #Worldhealthweek Obesity News: : Is diet the single most important factor in the chronic disease epidemic facing Aboriginal communities.”

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“For Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, “diet is the single most important factor in the chronic disease epidemic facing Aboriginal communities.” The resolution commits governments “to reverse the rising trends in overweight and obesity and reduce the burden of diet-related noncommunicable diseases in all age groups.”

Dr Mark J Lock is an ARC Discovery Indigenous Research Fellow at the School of Medicine and Public Health, University of Newcastle. See Croakey article Part 2

“Jamie Oliver on behalf of the Wadeye community, I invite you to visit us and teach us to understand healthy eating and nutritious food. Our community would be pleased take you collecting bush tucker traditional way, and you can teach us new skills.

Being healthy means our kids have a better chance in life, and your visit would help make our community strong for the future and ensure our kids to grow up healthy and deadly.”

Hope to hear from you soon,
From Julie see full letter below

“We need all sides of politics to take these issues seriously, to support effective policies and water down the alcohol and junk food and junk drink industries that currently are undermining our health.

In the Medical Journal of Australia, we argue that we are losing the war against alcohol and weight-related illnesses because our nation lacks a comprehensive approach to prevention.”

By Professor Rob Moodie, Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, University of Melbourne.He worked  for NACCHO Member , Congress, the Aboriginal Community controlled health service in Central Australia from 1982-1988.

Full article

Imagine telling the good folk of 1990 that in the near future, we’d be redesigning hospitals to accommodate the influx of obese patients.

Or that almost all of our sporting legends would be contractually obliged to advertise alcohol. Or most kids would be driven less than a kilometre to and from school.

Twenty-five years ago, these things were unimaginable. Yet, in 2016, here we are.

One might rightly ask how Australia’s health got so bad in such a short time, why our children are growing out before they grow up, and why nine out of 10 of us will die from a preventable disease.

Back in 2009, I chaired a panel that made a number of very clear recommendations about how to start turning the tide on chronic illness.

This year my colleagues and I have taken a critical look, in the Medical Journal of Australia, at how much progress we’ve made to address the recommendations we made in our National Preventive Health Taskforce report, delivered to the Federal Government seven years ago.

The short answer: not much. Why? Because virtually no money is being dedicated to preventing illness before it occurs. It’s all funnelled into the treatment end of the system.

In the face of a looming health crisis, our country lacks the sustained, comprehensive, strategic approach, adequate funding, and coordination.

Taking the issue seriously

We need all sides of politics to take these issues seriously, to support effective policies and water down the alcohol and junk food and junk drink industries that currently are undermining our health.

In the Medical Journal of Australia, we argue that we are losing the war against alcohol and weight-related illnesses because our nation lacks a comprehensive approach to prevention.

Non-communicable diseases are responsible for nine out of every 10 deaths. Seven million Australians currently live with chronic illness.

Of the recommendations we made in 2009, 27 were obesity-specific. Three have been reached, seven not started and 17 are crawling along with some progress. Of the 32 alcohol harm-reduction targets, four have been achieved, there is progress in 18, and 10 have not even been looked at.

For all the goodwill and expertise we have right here at home, we are seeing a widespread implementation failure.

There are hundreds of health promotion workers dedicated to tackling obesity levels. Picture: Pixabay

The problem is not a lack of expertise or an engaged workforce to carry out this work. Our University Schools of Public Health are producing wonderful graduates, but there are hundreds of dedicated health promotion workers who are perpetually frustrated that the money just isn’t there to fund their programs.

Unfortunately, the one federal agency set up specifically to run health promotion in Australia, the Australian National Preventive Health Agency, was swiftly dismantled by the Federal Government in 2014 before it really had a chance to achieve anything.

And with the demise of the national agency, the states and territories lost $400 million set aside for prevention. This blow to the prevention sector showed depressing lack of vision, given the huge body of evidence that shows preventing illness saves the health system millions in the long run.

As it stands, 1.5 per cent of recurrent health funding is channelled into public health and illness prevention, which is nowhere near enough to scratch the surface. The Australian Government invests far less than our cousins, New Zealand, Finland and Canada.

Yet we know that obesity will become a worsening public health emergency over the next decade.

Australia ranks fifth in the world for obesity rates and it’s getting worse as each year passes. High body mass and physical inactivity account for 60 per cent of the health burden of type 2 diabetes.

Men have packed on an average 6.5kg over 25 years to an average 85.9 kilograms. Women have put on 5.7 kilograms over 25 years to an average 71 kilograms.

Half a million of us have a Body Mass Index of over 40, which is in the morbidly obese category. And this can lead to devastating chronic and often fatal conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

This is a collective problem, not an individual problem. To get back to our lighter selves, we will have to tackle this together. That means showing public support to get rid of blanket advertising of alcohol and junk food and sugary drinks and its bizarre relationship with sports.

We need a tax on sugary drinks, says Professor Moodie. Picture. Pixabay
We need a tax on sugary drinks, says Professor Moodie. Picture. Pixabay

It means supporting a tax on sugary drinks. It means facing up to this country’s alcohol problem and supporting taxes on the products that are making us sick.

We’ve had such great successes with tobacco control in Australia and are renowned as leaders in the space. We should be leading the world in obesity and alcohol-harm reduction.

Managing non-communicable diseases in an ageing population is fraught with difficulty and as is often the case, the effects will be most profoundly felt by our indigenous peoples and our low-income earners.

In the face of a looming health crisis, our country lacks the sustained, comprehensive, strategic approach, adequate funding, and coordination.

We devote far too little to prevention policy, funding and implementation. There’s a lack of ingenuity, political and community courage to face these issues head on, as we have done in the past with tobacco.

Australia has a lot of catching up to do to comparable nations but we keep missing the targets, particularly on healthy eating, healthy weight, and the short and long-term impacts of risky drinking.

Just imagine if we’d instituted policies and programs back in 1990. Imagine how hundreds of thousands of Australians, perhaps even millions of us, would now be healthier, lighter and much happier than we are now.

Rob Moodie is Professor of Public Health and Director of Teaching and Learning at the Melbourne School of Population Health.

Prior to this he was the inaugural Chair of Global Health at the Nossal Institute. He worked in refugee health care in the Sudan and later for Congress, the Aboriginal Community controlled health service in Central Australia from 1982-1988.

H e worked for many years on HIV prevention for the Health Department Victoria, the Burnet Institute, WHO’s Global Programme on AIDS and was the inaugural Director of Country Support for UNAIDS in Geneva from 1995-98, and was a member of the Commission on AIDS in the Pacific and chaired the technical advisory panel of the Gates Foundation’s HIV prevention program in India from 2004-2013. He was CEO of VicHealth from 1998-2007 and chaired the National Preventative Health Taskforce from 2008-2011

He has particular interests in non–communicable diseases and HIV/AIDS and teaches a number of courses here and in Mozambique on public health leadership and health promotion. He has co-edited and co-authored 4 books including Promoting Mental Health, Hands on Health Promotion and his latest, Recipes for a Great Life written with Gabriel Gate.   

World-Health-Day-Lock

World Health Day call for Australia to host a national nutrition summit within six months

FROM CROAKEY

The recent United Nations proclamation of the UN Decade of Action on Nutrition must galvanise the Australian Government into action, says ARC Discovery Indigenous Research Fellow Dr Mark Lock in this timely post. He is calling for a national nutrition summit within six months, to begin addressing systemic failure by the government on the issue.

Today is World Health Day, which is this year focused on diabetes. This week is also #publichealthweek on Twitter (and in real life in the United States – read US President Barack Obama’s proclamation). The Public Health Association of Australia (PHAA) is leading a range of public health discussions all week: today looking at food and nutrition. Read its media release calling on the Federal Government to introduce a sugar tax on soft drink, reduce the marketing of junk food and alcohol to children and adults, and put a comprehensive prevention focus on chronic disease.

It will be easy, as Tim Senior reminds us in this tweet, for governments to focus on individual agency and action and avoid the systemic drivers.

diabetes twitter senior

Dr Mark J Lock writes

On 1 April 2016, the United Nations General Assembly agreed a resolution proclaiming the UN Decade of Action on Nutrition from 2016 to 2025.

“The resolution aims to trigger intensified action to end hunger and eradicate malnutrition worldwide, and ensure universal access to healthier and more sustainable diets – for all people, whoever they are and wherever they live.”

This resolution serves as a call for the Australian government to step-up and fast-track the development of Australia’s national nutrition policy.

There are numerous issues in Australia to address – such as food security for vulnerable groups, the cost of food in rural and remote areas, the increasing burden of disease attributable to diet, and increasing rates of obesity and type 2 diabetes. For Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, “diet is the single most important factor in the chronic disease epidemic facing Aboriginal communities.” The resolution commits governments “to reverse the rising trends in overweight and obesity and reduce the burden of diet-related noncommunicable diseases in all age groups.”

However, the resolution serves to highlight the systematic failure of the Australian Government to be proactive in the development of a national nutrition policy, the development of an associated framework, and the allocation of resources. This can be addressed with fast-track investments to do the work required and to therefore meet the UN resolution which “calls on governments to set national nutrition targets for 2025 and milestones based on internationally agreed indicators.”

Australia’s world class health system can positively respond to the UN Decade of Action on Nutrition 2016-2025 by convening a national nutrition summit within six months to lay-out a plan of action to achieve a better nutrition future for Australia’s citizens.

Dr Mark J Lock is an ARC Discovery Indigenous Research Fellow at the School of Medicine and Public Health, University of Newcastle.

Healthy

Julie invited Jamie Oliver to visit her community, Wadeye, to work with the local Indigenous mob to cook healthy tucker.

Julie is waiting to hear back from Jamie, but what a great opportunity!

Help us spread the word about the Stronger Communities for Children board member Julie Thardim’s invitation to Jamie Oliver. Come on Jamie’s Ministry of Food Australia, let’s get him out there!

Read Julie’s letter to Jamie here:

Dear Jamie,

My name is Julie Thardim and I live in the Aboriginal community of Wadeye, in Northern Territory. I speak the Murrinh Patha language, one of Wadeye’s many Aboriginal languages. I have one of your books that I really like to cook from here in Wadeye, called Jamie’s Comfort Food. I also have some of your DVDs.

I am a big fan of your cooking, but at our Wadeye community store there are not many ingredients, as all things are shipped in. I sometimes go to Darwin (a long way and expensive trip) and there I try to buy different and interesting ingredients.

Wadeye is in the tropical Daly River region, and there is lots of bush tucker we traditionally eat- like turtle’s eggs and meat, coconuts, crabs, bush nuts, Kakadu plums and wild fruits.

On behalf of the Wadeye community, I invite you to visit us and teach us to understand healthy eating and nutritious food. Our community would be pleased take you collecting bush tucker traditional way, and you can teach us new skills.

Being healthy means our kids have a better chance in life, and your visit would help make our community strong for the future and ensure our kids to grow up healthy and deadly.

Hope to hear from you soon,
From Julie

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Education the key to help halt diabetes on World Health Day

About 15 women from the remote community of Pormpuraaw in Cape York gathered this week to talk all things diabetes in the lead up to World Health Day today (April 7).

Highlighting the importance of nutrition and being active triggered discussions on how diabetes is an international problem, and how the incidence of young people being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes is increasing. Apunipima Cape York Health Council Healthy Lifestyles and Diabetes teams with Pormpur Paanthu held a Women’s Group Gathering in Pormpuraaw on Tuesday night to educate women on how they can be part of prevention and management of diabetes.

The World Health Organisation has marked the international day to focus on diabetes. With type 2 diabetes prevalent in Cape York communities, Apunipima is helping to educate youth and adults about chronic disease. Type 2 diabetes accounts for about 90 per cent of all diabetes worldwide. The global rise of childhood obesity and physical inactivity plays a crucial role in a person developing diabetes.

Apunipima’s Diabetes Nurse Educator Cath Dowey said the Women’s Health and Wellbeing Awareness evening focused on social wellbeing activities with the key message about diabetes. “We had women prepare a delicious  healthy  spaghetti  Bolognese  for  supper and they enjoyed some  relaxing  well-being  activities including face,  hair and  nail  pampering  interspersed by  having mini health checks and this enabled us to test women’s’ Blood  Pressure and Blood  Glucose Levels.

“We spoke about  healthy  lifestyle  choices including  how to  provide  healthy  choices  for  kids with  simple  lunch  box and  snack  ideas and  how women can encourage their  children to have  water instead of  sugary drinks.

“Staff at the Child Care Centre in Pormpuraaw are encouraging parents to give their children sandwiches, fruit and vegetable plates rather than fast food options.”

 

One comment on “NACCHO #Worldhealthweek Obesity News: : Is diet the single most important factor in the chronic disease epidemic facing Aboriginal communities.”

  1. OMG When U consider that Diabetes kills 1 in 12 of Our Mob a year 😦 !
    Obesity & Diabetes R an Indirect Genocide against US!
    It’s killing more than the WA Government’s Pacification Genocide in the 1900s where Forest said “Massacres R OK ‘coz that’s what explorers’ do!” Then the WA Governor McCusker in 2013 ignored Our Genocides saying the Kartiya invasion was peaceful! OMG no wonder we have Racism & Kartiya expect us to say YAY include us in the Document- the Australian Constitution – which allowed Our Genocides! Before recognising Our Sovereignty & a Treaty!
    We do NOT need a Sugar Tax we NEED a CARBOHYDRATE TAX so $$s R spent on attacking the genocide! Plus, a Debit Card that gives us 0% GST whilst stopping expenditure subject to the Alcohol or Carbohydrate taxes! See my Public Profile @ https://au.linkedin.com/in/daverennardson re my Tax system which removes deficits; reduces avoidance and introduces a Positive Progressive Taxation System with significant benefits for Peoples living beneath the Poverty line!

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